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Building Leaders for the World
Kimberly Morgan. Director, European and Eurasian Studies program, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs.
"Europe has been especially affected by the novel coronavirus. European economies are deeply integrated in the global economy, with growth powered by international trade, finance, and tourism. Although we do not yet know exactly how the novel coronavirus arrived and why it quickly spread in some parts of Europe, global travel and commerce were surely at the root of it. Yet because of the virus’s capacity for efficient and silent spread, it took weeks for governments to recognize the danger. Italy was hit hard, early on, perhaps because of the prevalence of multi-generational households and contacts in Italian society. Some speculate that the young helped spread the virus to the old and that Italy’s aging society is especially vulnerable to the disease.
Once the scale of the threat became apparent, the Italian government’s responses were swift and dramatic. The government shut down economic and social life, initially in the North where the virus was most widespread, and then across the entire country. Faced with rising numbers of infections, governments in other European countries have been adopting a similar tool kit: closures of schools, child care centers, and other public facilities; lockdowns of entire cities, regions or countries, once the limits of encouraging voluntary social distancing became apparent; mobilization of health care infrastructures, which includes prioritizing care for the seriously ill; and the expansion of economic supports for individuals and businesses. Public and private research centers also have ramped up testing capacities, working to manufacture supplies, expand test availability (e.g. drive-through centers), and speed up delivery of results. In Italy, over 130,000 people have been tested so far (compared to only 25,000 in the U.S.), while in Germany, some credit early initiatives at widespread testing with having kept down the infection and death rate, compared to its neighbors.
In one of French President Emmanuel Macron’s speeches to the nation about the pandemic, he stated that because the virus has no nationality and knows no borders, Europe should confront it as Europeans, not as individual nations jealous of their own interests. Some EU institutions have taken coordinated action, including a recent effort by the European Central Bank to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of public and private assets across the Eurozone. The aim is not only to try to prop up sagging markets, but also to prevent the health crisis from turning into a financial crisis, with Italy once again at the epicenter as investors grow restive about the country’s large public debt.
Yet, the response to the virus has so far revealed the limits of pan-European solidarity. Many countries have reintroduced border controls that had been eliminated under the Schengen Agreement, and did so unilaterally. An Italian government request to trigger an EU mechanism that should deliver supplies to countries overwhelmed by a national disaster was met with a deafening silence by other EU states; instead, countries imposed limits on the export of crucial medical supplies. China has stepped into (and taken advantage of) this leadership void, sending shipments of ventilators and other supplies. European integration, in its current form, may prove to be one of the many casualties of the pandemic."
Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety II has been named vice chancellor and president of the University of the South, Sewanee, the institution announced Friday.
Dr. Brigety will remain dean of the Elliott School through the end of the spring semester before starting his new role on Aug. 1.
Oxford University was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research carried out by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). James Foster, Oliver T. Carr Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Economics, collaborated on this project with Sabine Alkire, OPHI Director. The initiative was recognized for its research contributions toward better understanding and measuring global poverty.
Foreign Affairs Inbox, the Elliott School’s entirely student run podcast, has launched into its fourth season. Hosts Emma Anderson and Taylor Galgano sit down with experts to analyze critical issues in international affairs.
With this season focusing on peace, conflict and protest, the latest episode celebrates International Women's Day with Susan Slomback of USAID. Tune in to Foreign Affairs Inbox on your preferred podcast app.
BA Candidate, International Affairs
"My research has focused on the social effects of desertification and drought. Through conversations with local professors, livestock famers, and government officials my hope is to propose policy solutions to desertification in the Sahel, a region in Africa."